Motherhood and Presidency

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As moms, we often try to find shortcuts to motherhood. Some are good  or indifferent (I don’t bother wasting time putting shoes on my toddler before leaving the house because she just takes them off in the car anyway. Time saved? One minute. Sanity saved? A whole boat load). Some are not so good (I have bribed my toddler to eat her lunch by getting bites of cookie in between each bite of her meal).

One of my shortcuts is nursing my youngest to sleep before his afternoon nap. He’s pretty much guaranteed to go to sleep this way and I get a bit of time to look up stupid stuff on the internet and facebook. It’s a win-win situation for us all. Although I would like to point out that if he does not in fact fall asleep while nursing, I can usually get him to sleep with out it. And if I can’t, well then I bring him back out into the den and let him play with some toys while I lay on the floor and cry because all I want is a BREAK!

Anyway, so on one of my recent bouts of doing nothing worthwhile while nursing my son to sleep, I came across pictures of President Obama pre- and post-term. Wow. Talk about aging (no offense Mr. President-do we still call past presidents Mr.?-but pictures don’t lie). I then looked up pictures of other presidents when they first entered the Oval Office and when they departed. Good Lord, what a change.

And then it dawned on me, these are men who have led our nation for anywhere from 4-8 years. I have led my kids for less than 3 1/2 years and pictures of me pre-kids and post-kids don’t tell lies either. This mama has aged! But oh, how funny it is to realize the similarity between mothers and presidents. We’re kind of the same, huh? Rock on mamas, you have earned every grey hair, droopy body part and wrinkle/laugh/stress line! At least we have something cute to show for it. Maybe this will make you feel better.

15barackobama

bushclinton

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Trophy Wife

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The term ‘trophy wife’ makes me want to roll my eyes and gag. You’ve seen them, the women who pride themselves in looking hot and their men who like to show them off. So not me and thankfully, so not my husband. I’m hoping to deter my daughter into wanting to be one by posting this bible verse on her side of the bedroom:

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Maybe I should also post it on my son’s side of the bedroom so it’ll deter him from wanting that kind of wife….hmmmmm

Anyway, the term ‘trophy wife’ came to me the other day, and I still have no idea why it popped into my mind, but it got me thinking about the root of WHY a woman would want to be one and why a man would want one. I get why women want to look good. Everywhere we look and much of what we read tells us that who we are is what we look like. I’d also say that even if you say you don’t believe this, how you spend you money tells me what you really believe, but that’s another argument for another post. As to why a man wants a trophy wife, well my guess is it makes them feel bigger, stronger, manlier, like the victor in some battle against every other man out there and they all stare and drool over the woman on his arm, jealous that she is not on their arm. He has something they want.

So then my mind took a left turn and decided there’s another kind of trophy wife. The kind who excels, not at what she looks like (though this isn’t to say she’s not attractive) but at what she does. Perhaps she is a doctor with her own practice; or a teacher who opens the minds of a classroom full of 5 year olds eager to discover the wide, wide world before them; maybe she is a dog trainer who can handle small or big, aggressive or submissive; she could be the woman who owns and runs her own flower shop or the wife who takes care of a barn and has no problem being around, in between or on top of animals over 6 times her weight. These are the wives who, when asked what they do, are “ooooh and ahhhhh’d over, are told by the listening person that they could never do that (how many of us could be kindergarten teachers? I mean, c’mon, seriously??) and are, in general, described by what they do (this may sound like I’m against the idea of a woman being known for what she does…I’m not. bear with me).

And it was then that my mind stopped, dead in it’s tracks. Well, I’m definitely not the first kind of trophy wife. I used to have a job, which I loved, but not anymore. So how am I described by my husband’s friends? How am I viewed in a room full of people, as I stand next to my man? I mean, what do I do? I’m a wife and a mom. I cook, I clean, I change diapers and wipe butts, I discipline and play, and run errands all day. Not exactly something people get excited about.

But after much thought, this is what I’ve decided I want to be known for:

  1. I am a wife who feeds her hungry husband. First, let me say, I’m not a great cook nor do I enjoy cooking every day, even simple meals. BUT, my husband works hard all day and is spent when he gets home. Not only does he physically need nourishment, but he enjoys it as well. Second, let me say I often view cooking as a burden. Let me fix one large dish that lasts for a few days and I’m good. But to have to fix something new about 5 times a week? Ugh, are you kidding? Fix it yourself or eat leftovers! So, while I struggle in this category, deep down I still would like to be known for it. Not every man has a meal to come home to. I want mine to.
  2. I am a wife who provides a home. My husband works to provide us with our house, it’s up to me to make this house into a home. Something personal, something functional, something full of memories and promises of a future, something that is welcoming to all.
  3. I am a wife who provides a sanctuary. Life is hard. It’s even harder when you’re out working in this blasted Florida heat and humidity. I want my man to WANT to come home. I want him to ENJOY being in our home. I want him to have a place where he can relax and rest, a place that restores his soul, that is a breath of fresh air. Of course this isn’t so easy as it sounds because it includes a variety of factors, such as: managing the kids’ toys, not letting laundry sit around (we don’t have a laundry room…it’s a closet = laundry sitting around means on the table or our beds or the desk or somewhere else it doesn’t belong), providing a place for everything and making sure it gets put there, teaching our kids to clean up after themselves, keeping a semi-clean house, exercising the dog so she’s not bouncing off the walls, exercising the kids so they’re not bouncing off the walls, etc., etc., etc. It doesn’t always happen, but I’d like to think I succeed more than I fail.
  4. I am a wife who mothers with a purpose. Many of my days seem to be just about survival. However, lately I have been convicted to devote more thought and time to mothering my kids, not just being their mom. Kids are like dry sponges, soaking up everything around them, whether it’s what they watch on TV, the behaviors of the kids they play with, what they hear on the radio, or what comes out of the mouths of people around them. I have the opportunity to make sure they are influenced by positive people and things as well as the choice to allow or not allow everybody else to influence them more than I do. I can allow their hearts to take on whatever shape the world molds it into, or I can gently guide them, teaching them who they were created to be and who their Creator is, what unconditional love is and who it comes from, the difference between absolute truth and objective truth and why it matters.
  5. I am a wife who is pleasant to be around. Oh that I may be a wife that builds my husband up, encouraging him and spurring him on in his dreams. That I may be a wife who is more interested in building our marriage than building my own interests; a wife who can disagree in opinion without starting a fight; a wife who can just shut up and listen; a wife who can reach out to break the silence even when I feel wronged; a wife who will choose to love my husband, every day, through every valley and up every mountain; a wife who finds a way to be his wife when I’ve used up all my energy being a mom all day.

This is who I am, or at least who I want to be. This is what I do. It isn’t rocket science or glamorous. But it is important to me, to my husband and to God. I may not care about what other people think of me, but I pray my husband finds joy in who I am and what I do for him, for us, for our family.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Peter 3:3-4